Animation art strikes a chord with our inner child. Many would admit they have a favorite character or a favorite cartoon which they fondly remember. And while most give little thought to the work that went in to creating these wonderful animated cartoons, the art is engaging. In the next exhibit at the Gallery at 48 Natoma in Folsom, “From Hare to Eternity: The Enduring Art of Warner Brothers Animation,” features the private collection of Eric Calande. Famous Looney Tunes characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird and others will be included. The exhibit is on display from March 16 to May 10, 2012.

bugs bunny cleaning the desert“What’s truly amazing about animation art’, says Calande “is that it was not created with the intention to survive. The art needed to last only long enough to be photographed beneath the camera. The finished cartoon was considered the real work of art. Lucky for us, 60 plus years later, old stashes of vintage animation art are still being discovered intact.”

Production art from the Warner Studios is particularly special because a tremendous amount of the original production artwork was destroyed. After decades of making cartoons the Warner Brothers warehouse was becoming overcrowded with production art and the studio wanted to make more effective use of the space. This was back in the late 1960’s when it was thought that the production artwork from these cartoons had little or no value. Consequently, the works were destroyed. According to Calande, another reason the originals were destroyed is that “the warehouse contained so much paper and early animation cells (which were made from a very flammable nitrocellulose) that the insurance company told the Warner Brothers Studio to get rid of the clutter or face dramatically raised insurance rates.” This was indeed a tragic loss of original artwork. The art that exists today comes from the actual animators, the ink painters, or were items gifted to studio visitors or VIPs.

Collector Eric Calande has spent the better part of the last 20 years scouring the ends of the earth looking for what survives. His efforts have enabled him to amass one of the most significant collections of vintage animation art from the Warner Brothers Golden Era of Animation. Through public showings, Calande continues to share his passion for the art and the animation process while exploring the intriguing history of how the art and characters came to be. Collections of animation art such as this are becoming more valuable in light of modern computer generated cartoons that are not made meticulously by hand. Don’t miss this opportunity to see this collection of unique, original art in this special exhibit at the Gallery at 48 Natoma.

The adjacent Community Gallery at 48 Natoma will showcase “Crazy for Cartoons”. This work from the children’s classes at the Art Center at 48 Natoma will be on display until May 4, 2012.

The opening reception for both exhibits will be held on Friday, March 16, 2012 from 6:00 to 8:00pm. The exhibits are free and open to the public and art is available for purchase. Hours are Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm with additional hours, Thursday nights 6:00-8:00pm. Group and free school tours can be arranged by appointment. To request additional gallery information, or to schedule a tour, contact the gallery coordinator, Cindy Abraham, (916)355-7285, or [email protected]

This exhibition is generously sponsored by Wells Fargo and a grant from Target.

(Looney Tunes, and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.)